The FIFA decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup was even more controversial than FIFA’s decisions usually are. Former US president Bill Clinton, who had spent two years trying to win the 2022 World Cup for the US, was reportedly infuriated by the decision. And he wasn’t alone. Qatar’s defeat of Japan, Australia and the US perplexed nearly everyone and brought multiple calls for investigations. It was widely suspected that Qatar–an oil-rich Gulf nation with little soccer history and terrible climate conditions for the tournament–bribed FIFA decision makers.
Now Theo Zwanziger, who represents Germany on the executive committee of FIFA, has told Sport Bild Plus that, in his opinion, “the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar.” Zwanziger points to medical concerns–not just for the players but for the millions of fans who will face temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said at the time of the Qatar announcement that football “was headed to new lands.” But as recently as May, Blatter seemed less certain, saying that awarding the World Cup to Qatar was “a mistake.” There is no telling whether the FIFA officials who allegedly took millions from Qatar advocates to vote for this “mistake” will have to return their alleged ill-gotten gains. At least FIFA can rest assured that its other decisions were made with integrity: The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia.